Human Trafficking in the Sinai: Refugees between Life and Death


This report describes the horrific situation of trafficking of refugees in the Sinai desert, a crisis that started in 2009. The refugees include men, women, children, and accompanying infants fleeing from already desperate circumstances in Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Sudan. An estimated 95% of the refugees in the Sinai (also referred to as hostages) are Eritreans. Smuggled across borders by middlemen, or kidnapped from refugee camps in Ethiopia and the Sudan, as well as their surrounding areas, and then captured or sold, the refugees are held hostage close to the Israeli border in inhumane conditions and tortured for ransoms of up to $50,000 USD. A large number of the refugees have died, either while being held hostage or after their release - often even after their ransom has been paid. A large number of refugees simply 'disappear' - killed while being held or shot.

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